Durham County

May 14, 2014

Fire damages West Parrish Street building in Durham

A fire damaged the top floor of a three-story building in Durham’s historic “Black Wall Street” area on West Parrish Street early Wednesday, officials said.

A fire damaged the top floor of a three-story building in Durham’s historic “Black Wall Street” area on West Parrish Street early Wednesday, officials said.

Firefighters were dispatched to 118 W. Parrish St. at 2:23 a.m. after an automatic fire alarm was triggered in the building, said Deputy Fire Chief Chris Iannuzzi.

The fire began in a photography studio and destroyed one room there and damaged a second as well as the roof, Iannuzzi said.

The first firefighters on the scene saw heavy smoke coming out of top-floor windows, Iannuzzi said, and got the fire under control about an hour later.

Lower floors suffered water damage, especially a fitness studio on the second floor, Iannuzzi said.

Investigators were working Wednesday to figure out what sparked the fire.

The 15,000-square-foot building was built in 1916, according to city records.

Iannucci said doors had been closed in the area where the fire began, which kept it from spreading more quickly.

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